Lebanese Fattoush Salad

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Once you start making Lebanese Fattoush Salad, it will be a go-to favorite salad! My Fattoush recipe is an authentic Lebanese salad made with fresh vegetables, an addictive tangy Fattoush dressing, and pita chips.

Lebanese Fattoush Salad for the Mediterranean Diet

There are a few traditional Lebanese salads that belong in most every cook’s rotation: tabbouleh salad, Lebanese salata, and the darling of my own table and plate, authentic Lebanese Fattoush salad; an essential in Mediterranean cuisine.

This Mediterranean salad is made with a wonderful variety–lettuce plus fresh vegetables and herbs. Dress Fattoush with a unique dressing that is sweet-and-sour, bright with sumac spice, pomegranate molasses, and lemon. Total upgrade from a traditional lemon vinaigrette. Finish Fattoush with a crush of crisp homemade pita chips and a shower of fresh herbs.

Fattoush is so addictive for me that I will, in the face of enormous, epic Lebanese feasts of my own making, edge out the other goodness so I can fill my plate half with Fattoush. It’s the first thing in my order at Lebanese restaurants. The rest is just a supporting cast!! With a little chicken or kofta skewer alongside, I have all I need to feast and feast well.

Here’s how to make the best Fattoush salad with dressing we can’t get enough of!

Watch my video for how to make Fattoush:

What is Fattoush?

Also known as fatoush or fatoosh, the word Fattoush comes from the Arabic word “fatteh,” which refers to little “crumbs.” Both Fattoush salad and fatteh (a Lebanese dish with pita chips, yogurt and trimmings) are made with pita chips. They are among that class of dishes most every culture devises to make delicious use of stale bread. Cooking with economy!

We don’t, however, wait for dry pita bread to make Fattoush or to make the pita chips that are so essential to a Fattoush recipe. The pita chips in Fattoush are traditionally fried for superior flavor and crunch.

What is the difference between tabbouleh and Fattoush?

Big difference. Huge difference!

Tabbouleh salad is an herb salad of finely chopped parsley and mint that includes a touch of tomato and bulgur. Tabbouleh salad dressing is a simple, lemony dressing, and also makes a frequent appearance on my plate. Fattoush is a lettuce and vegetable salad, crunchy and full bodied, with pita chips. Fattoush dressing includes pomegranate molasses, sumac, and lemon.

Ingredients for Fattoush salad

Fattoush is certainly flexible in its salad components. Here is a list of ingredients to use as a guideline. Have other favorites, such as bell peppers, cucumbers, or baby lettuces? Go for it!

Romaine lettuce. So important. Main ingredient. Romaine is the most popular choice because it has what it takes to stand up under Fattoush salad dressing and all of the vegetables and pita chips. Iceberg lettuce works too, if that’s what you have on hand!

Cherry or grape tomatoes. Why do I specify these? They hold together much better than slices of big, juicy summer tomatoes. Plus, we make Fattoush year round (you will too!). Cherry or grape tomatoes taste sooo much better than roma or other big tomatoes from the grocery store in the off-season.

Red onion. Slice it thin. Love the flavor, love the pop of color. You can also add green onions for an extra punch!

Radishes. Slice these thin, too. The bracing flavor and crunch of radishes are a thing of beauty in Fattoush.

Fresh mint. Don’t miss this special ingredient to make your vibrant salad. Oh the freshness! The authentic Lebanese flavor! Use spearmint, which is the typical garden mint and the fresh mint sold in grocery stores.

Pita Chips. Do what works best for your time here: purchased pita chips will suffice, but most offerings are lackluster. Homemade toasted pita chips are so good. Try them! Instructions are below.

Note that the traditional Fattoush salad in Lebanon, and for many who love this flavor there, purslane (a flavorful, delicate green) is an important Fattoush ingredient. In my Lebanese-American making and eating of Fattoush, purslane isn’t in it! But do know this and try it if you like.

Sumac spice in a blue bowl

Ingredients for Lebanese Fattoush Salad Dressing

I call this the Ultimate Lebanese Salad Dressing because I make a big jar, then use it on lots of salads, not just Fattoush. Here’s what you need, some are unique salad ingredients (which can be found in The Fattoush Salad Kit in my shop!):

Pomegranate Molasses. Have you tried this fabulous flavor maker? Pomegranate molasses for Fattoush is as important as the pita chips to imparting the unique taste that is Fattoush. This syrup is simply reduced pomegranate juice and it is readily available. Find pure Lebanese pomegranate molasses in my shop.

Fresh lemon juice. Your road to that very important citrus acidic flavor is here. Use fresh! One lemon will do for a big salad, using lemon zest will offer extra flavor too. Lime juice works well here as an alternative to lemon.

Fresh garlic. A small clove, minced. I like to grate my garlic clove on a microplane zester. So fast! Just watch your knuckles so that they don’t get caught in the shuffle…

Spices. Ground sumac spice is a citrus-like flavor, deep red in color, and a Fattoush must-have! We also include dried mint to level up the mint flavor that is a hallmark Lebanese taste. Find both of these spices, fresh, in my shop.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The good stuff will make your Fattoush salad dressing sing, pure extra virgin.

Salt and pepper

How to make Fattoush?

Here is a step-by-step guide to making the very best Lebanese Fattoush salad:

Step 1. Are you making your own pita chips? If so, get those made right away. I like to make them and keep them on hand at-the-ready for Fattoush anytime. See below for two methods, baked or fried. P.S. purchased pita chips are alright too!

Step 2. Prep the vegetables. Clean, dry, and chop or tear the romaine into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Thinly slice the radishes. Cut the red onion in thin slices. Finely chop the mint. Combine everything in a large bowl.

Step 3. Dress the salad (see how to make the Fattoush dressing below). Add the pita chips just before serving and toss with the salad. Finish with more crushed pita chips on top and a dusting of sumac and fresh mint.

Fattoush salad dressing ingredients with a jar of sumac and a spoon in Maureen Abood's hand

How to make Fattoush salad dressing.

This is such an easy Fattoush dressing, yet packed with so many essential flavors:

In a small bowl, whisk the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, sumac, dried mint, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste, looking for balanced sweet-tart flavor. Adjust as needed. Take care not to overdo it with the pomegranate molasses, to balance that sweetness with the other flavors. 

Pita bread is cut in strips with scissors

How to make pita chips for Fattoush?

You can fry the pita chips, or you can bake them–both are delicious.

How to fry pita chips

Step 1. Cut the pita into 1- to 2-inch pieces, or use a whole pita here and break into pieces after frying (if your pita is of the thinner variety). 

Step 2. Heat neutral oil (such as expeller-pressed avocado oil, safflower oil, or canola because these handle high fry temps without burning easily) in a large skillet on medium heat. 

Step 3. Fry the chips quickly, taking care to remove the pita immediately when it starts to turn golden brown. Use paper towels to blot off excess oil if necessary. If salting, do that right away so the salt will adhere and absorb. 

How to make baked pita chips

All you’ll need is a couple tablespoons of neutral oil, the pitas, and sea salt to taste. 

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Step 2. Open the pitas and pull the halves apart along the seams, using kitchen shears to cut 1-inch strips. Then cut each strip into two pieces.

Step 3. Toss the bread in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of neutral oil and salt.

Step 4. Spread the small pieces of pita bread onto the sheet pan in a single layer and bake until light golden brown. For best results, stir a few times and rotate the pan. This should take 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your pita croutons.

Important Tips for making the best Lebanese Fattoush salad.

  1. Use the freshest lettuce and vegetables you can find. The crisp fresh flavor of quality vegetables will make your salad that much better.
  2. Keep and serve the salad cold. I like to combine the lettuce and vegetables in a big zip lock bag or in the salad bowl covered with plastic wrap, and keep this in the refrigerator until just before serving.
  3. Add the pita chips just before serving. This way they will stay crisp without soaking too much dressing before serving.
  4. Toss some pita chips in the salad, then garnish with more on top. Pretty!
  5. Do everything in your power to get a bottle of pure pomegranate molasses. This flavor is a key ingredient for a great Fattoush salad recipe! I promise you will use the bottle again and again (it won’t sit unused in the pantry like some specialty ingredients do). Then, don’t use too much pomegranate molasses! A balance of the essential sweetness here (not too much) is best.
  6. Store in an airtight container to enjoy next time, good for a day in the refrigerator if storing the salad already dressed, though expect a more wilted salad (something members of my family fight over, they love leftover salad so much!).
fattoush-big-bowl

What to serve with Fattoush

The possibilities are many. To eat Fattoush salad as a main dish, slice some chicken on top, add some chickpeas, or chopped chicken shawarma (oh yes). Bam, easy good protein!

We Fattoush for the holidays (any and all) around here, so consider Fattoush for those menus too (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, you name it). And yes, Fattoush is both a noun and a verb in our house. As in, “want to Fattoush tonight? Yes, let’s!” It’s our main staple, at any time of year. 

Your Fattoush salad menu (because we build the menu around the Fattoush!), try:

Chicken Shish Tawook (chicken skewers)

Lamb or Beef Kofta Skewers

Kibbeh any and all ways

Fatayer, little savory hand pies filled with spinach or meat

Chicken Shawarma or Roasted Cauliflower Shawarma with Lebanese Vermicelli Rice

Frequently Asked Questions

What does fattoush taste like?

Fattoush is a fresh-tasting, bright salad with a lemony, minty, tangy Fattoush dressing. Think sweet-tart.

Is Fattoush healthy?

You bet. Fattoush is packed with nutrient-rich vegetables! If the fried bread gets you down, bake them! And feel free to leave them out altogether for a gluten-free salad.

Can I bake pita chips?

Right on. Baked pita chips are wonderful. Check out my recipe above.

What is the difference between fatteh and Fattoush?

Both use pita chips, and both words derive from the same Arabic word “fatteh” meaning “crumbs” in English. Fatteh is a layered dish of pita chips with yogurt and other trimmings (try my fatteh recipe here!). Fattoush is a bread salad that includes pita chips.

Can I use other vegetables too?

Yes. While it may not be traditional to the recipe, persian cucumbers, red cabbage, bell pepper (green peppers if you have), seasonal vegetables, and spring onions would be great additions. 

Which type of tomatoes should I use?

I recommend cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, but vine tomatoes work just as well. Any ripe tomatoes do the trick!

What is sumac?

Sumac is a middle eastern spice; tart and sweet and comes from ground, dried sumac berries. It’s a great addition to pretty much any dish in middle eastern cuisine! Other spices are delicious in salads like this, including a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Is fattoush a main dish?

The best thing about this Lebanese salad is that you can enjoy it however you want: It makes for a great side salad, add it to your summer salads collection with the zesty lemon dressing, make it as a way to use your leftover pita bread, or have it as a main dish during long winter months to remind you of summer sunshine. 

Is there another way to make the dressing?

You could try to make this dressing in the food processor, but using a whisk is much quicker and less clean-up!

Fattoush salad with tomatoes and a chicken skewer with white sauce on a blue background plate

More Lebanese Recipes to Try:

Authentic Lebanese Mujadara

Lebanese Salata

Tabbouleh Salad

Easy Lebanese Cabbage Salad with garlic and lemon

Lebanese Fattoush Salad for the Mediterranean Diet
5 from 7 votes

Lebanese Fattoush Salad

By Maureen Abood
Once you start making Lebanese Fattoush Salad, it will be ago-to favorite salad! My Fattoush recipe is an authentic Lebanese salad made with fresh vegetables, an addictive tangy Fattoush dressing, and pita chips.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

For the pita chips (if making homemade)

  • Neutral oil for frying (such as avocado, safflower, or canola)
  • 2 large pitas, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • table salt, for dusting the pita chips

For the Fattoush Salad and Dressing:

Instructions 

  • For the pita chips, in a large heavy pot, fill oil up to about 3 inches from the bottom. Heat to 375°F, or until a small piece of bread dropped into the oil makes lively bubbles. Add a big handful of the cut pita bread and fry for about one minute, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined pan or dish. Repeat to make as many pita chips as you'd like! Finish with a dusting of table salt (optional).
  • For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of the dried mint, 1 teaspoon of the sumac, and olive oil until it is thoroughly combined.
  • In your big salad bowl, combine the romaine, tomatoes, onion, radishes, and pita chips. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette, tossing it to evenly coat everything. Dust the fattoush with the remaining Garlic Mint Salt and sumac, fresh mint, and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Use the freshest lettuce and vegetables you can find. The crisp fresh flavor of quality vegetables will make your salad ever so great.
  2. Keep the salad cold. I like to combine the lettuce and vegetables in a big zip lock bag or in the salad bowl covered with plastic wrap, and keep this in the refrigerator until just before serving.
  3. Add the pita chips just before serving. This way they will stay crisp without soaking too much dressing before serving.
  4. Toss some pita chips in the salad, then garnish with more on top. Pretty!
  5. Do everything in your power to get a bottle of pure pomegranate molasses. This flavor is so key to a great Lebanese Fattoush Salad! I promise you will use the bottle again and again (it won’t sit unused in the pantry like some speciality ingredients do). Then, don’t use too much pomegranate molasses! A balance of the essential sweetness here (not too much) is best.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
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13 Comments

  1. Maureen – Good Morning from Troy, Michigan! I was curious … Are there any places near Troy that might be selling your cookbook? If not, have you ever thought about looking into this great store in Clawson, MI called, Leon & Lulu, that holds many events that are perfect for you (https://www.leonandlulu.com/events/books-authors/ and https://www.leonandlulu.com/events/made-to-eat/)? It’s in the old Ambassador Roller Rink. The owner, Mary Liz Curtin, has also just re-opened the building (which was an old theater) next to her called, the Show that helps promote all things coming from Michigan. Thank you for all your wonderful posts and recipes – I always look forward to them. Enjoy the beautiful weekend! Suzy

  2. Much like Italian recipes, there’s only one way, the way Momma & Nonna made it. Although it can be frustrating, I suppose that it’s how traditions stay true & alive through the generations.

  3. Can you share where your beautiful wooden salad bowl comes from? After making this delicious salad, I realized it deserves a gorgeous bowl!

    1. Hi Anna–yes, a big gorgeous bowl is special! This one we use has been in the family forever and came from a beautiful shop in Lansing, MI that is no more…. Good places to check are Williams-Sonoma, or artisanal local wood workers that you can Google around for in your area. Also search for California artisans.

  4. This salad was amazing! Very delicious! For future purposes- can I make everything in advance and then pour the dressing on prior to serving?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Isn’t it the best?! Absolutely, make in advance and simply assemble all before serving. Great idea.

  5. I’m unable to find 100% pure pomegranate molasses in Canada. The brands I find seem diluted and have sugar added. Can pomegranate molasses be made by simply reducing pomegranate juice? The POM juice brand is easiest to find here.

    1. Interesting–yes, that’s essentially how to make pomegranate molasses and worth doing! You can also sub balsamic vinegar if needed.

  6. I love your cookbook and came here specifically to tell you that your fattoush dressing is now my everyday dressing, even if I have no pita on hand to make it an actual fattoush. I make a double batch in a glass bottle and store it in the fridge at all times. I took it to a salad potluck at my office and people said it was the best salad dressing they’ve ever tasted. Seriously, I paid premium for romaine throughout a Canadian winter during a worldwide pandemic so I wouldn’t miss out on my salad, which I now eat almost every day. Thank you for this!

    1. Fattoush lovers unite!! This is so great Tracy, thank you. I love your idea of making a big batch and keeping on hand for quick fattoush any (every?!) day!

  7. I visited Lebanon last summer, and I believe I ate my weight in fattoush. My dear ex-pat friend and her Lebanese boyfriend took me to the Bekaa Valley, where we enjoyed a fabulous meal at a restaurant in the middle of who knows where. The proprietor fished our trout out of the lake while we were being seated. We feasted on hummus, kibbeh, freshly made goat cheese, olives, stewed vegetables, bread hot from the oven, fattoush, and the best grilled fish I have ever eaten in my life. While we dined under the trees, we watched children herding the goats that provided the milk for our cheese. It was a glorious day, and I am already looking forward to another trip to Lebanon someday. It’s such a beautiful country with lovely and hospitable people.

  8. Maureen

    Interesting to see your recipe for fattoush, my Situ had a different recipe that was always my favorite “go to” when she would ask me what I wanted her to make.

    Parsley, red onions, tomatoes
    Fresh lemon, olive oil, sumac, allspice,salt and pepper
    Toasted bread on top…

    It’s all good I’m sure, would love to hear your thoughts on variations of recipes in Lebanese cuisine (is it a regional thing)?

    1. John the different Lebanese ways with recipes is far broader than I ever knew growing up! I do love all of the variation which as you say, is regional but also I believe very familial. And your Situ’s fattoush sounds sooooo good. No lettuce, but all of those other vegetables plus spices and the toasted bread. I will try it! Thank you so much.